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Pep talk ... North Otago players and coach Rebecca Fox prepare for their game at the Network Waitaki-sponsored year 7 and 8 basketball tournament at the Waitaki Community Recreation Centre at the weekend. Basketball will be one of the major sports involved in a possible new indoor sports facility in Oamaru. PHOTO: CAROL EDWARDS

Three potential sites for a possible indoor sports facility in Oamaru have been identified in a Sport Otago report received by the Waitaki District Council.

The council voted to go ahead with a feasibility study for an indoor stadium in September last year.

A 154-page Waitaki District Sport and Recreation Needs Assessment and Indoor Recreation Centre Feasibility study, released last week, lists three preferred sites for council consideration.

Two are at Centennial Park, one behind the grandstand and another that would incorporate the Excelsior Sports Club clubrooms.

The latter was considered in the report to be the “optimum” site.

The third site was at Awamoa Park.

In total, 18 sites were assessed against comprehensive criteria, based on the ability to integrate with other facilities, absence of other services and site constraints, the perceived ease of resource consent processes, the ability to extend any facility, the amount of on-site parking and how well it fit the concept brief.

The report said a facility at the Excelsior clubrooms site would “come close to being a true hub”.

Sport Otago chief executive John Brimble said that was a major factor in the site’s selection.

“What influenced that was the fact there’s an existing hub of sports within that locale, based around the existing Excelsior clubrooms, including across the car park to the Athletic clubroom,” Mr Brimble told the Oamaru Mail this week.

“By building on that site, you can actually link in and incorporate the existing clubs and also provide far expanded squash facilities, enhanced and larger facilities for indoor bowls, storage and a viewing area for cricket.

“Obviously, you’d lose the existing car park .. that’s an additional cost. If you built behind the existing Centennial Park grandstand, you’d lose one training field but you’d reduce the cost in terms of only having to provide for minimum additional car parking.”

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher believed there were “pros and cons” to each site and preferred the option to construct a facility behind the grandstand.

“I think the one that would be the most cost-effective would be the one beside the grandstand because you’re not having to replace a whole lot of car parks and it works a lot better,” Mr Kircher said.

“One of the issues with the proposal to incorporate Excelsior’s clubrooms and so on is that it adds a whole million dollars .. I don’t see the justification for doing that.”

The preferred option identified in the report was a stand-alone, six-court facility that included squash courts.

The estimated cost – if the facility was to be built in 2020 – was from $22.2 to $24.6 million.

Before the council commissioned the study, Mr Kircher estimated a cost of $7 million based on the cost of another Otago facility.

He defended the earlier estimate and said the council had copped criticism over it.

“We’ve been slammed for those a bit. The original number was one I’d made up based on the Balclutha one and then added a bit on for inflation .. it’s [the proposed facility] quite a different facility overall.

“I guess, fundamentally, I’d be disappointed if we weren’t able to push forward with it at a better cost than proposed, but that remains to be seen. Obviously, a key thing in being able to do any project like that is getting outside funding.”

Mr Kircher wanted the proposal included in the council’s 2018-28 draft long term plan, which would allow a “proper discussion with the community and gauge the support or otherwise for it”.